Voters in Idaho gave Mitt Romney a landslide but simultaneously voted overwhelmingly to repeal the “Luna Laws,” the brainchild of state superintendent Tom Luna.
This stunning victory for public education demonstrates that not even red-state Republicans are prepared to privatize public education and dismantle the teaching profession.
The Luna Laws imposed a mandate for online courses for high school graduates (a favorite of candidates funded by technology companies), made test scores the measure of teacher quality, provided bonuses for teachers whose students got higher scores, removed all teacher rights, eliminated anything resembling tenure or seniority, turned teachers into at-will employees, and squashed the teachers’ unions.
The campaign to support the Luna laws was heavily funded by technology entrepreneurs and out-of-state supporters of high-stakes testing and restrictions on the teaching profession, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The voters in this reddest of red states overturned all three of the Luna laws (which he called “Students Come First”; anything in which children or students or kids come “first” is a clear tip-off to the divisive intent of the program).
As the story in the Idaho Statesman reported:
In a stunning rebuke to Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, Idahoans on Tuesday repealed the laws that dominated the pair’s agenda the past two years.
Idahoans agreed with teachers unions — which spent more than $3 million to defeat Propositions 1, 2 and 3 — that the reforms Luna called “Students Come First” and detractors called “The Luna Laws” went too far.
As GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won a 65 percent Idaho landslide, Otter and Luna — both touted as possible Cabinet secretaries in a Romney administration — lost their signature issue by large margins.
With 99 percent of all Idaho precincts reporting:
— 57 percent opposed to restrictions on teachers unions in Prop 1.
— 58 percent voted no on Prop 2, which paid teacher bonuses based on student test scores and other measures.
— 67 percent rejected a mandate for laptops and online credits for every Idaho high school student.
The scale of the defeat reached across Idaho.
Voters in 37 of 44 counties rejected all three measures. The seven outliers — Adams, Boise, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison and Owyhee — are largely rural. Not one of Idaho’s most populous counties voted for even one of the laws.